hot desert plants and environment
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With winds throughout the season, young trees may need support. However, the proper way to stake them is not next to the trunk, but 6-8" out, with the exception of very small trunks and Oleander trees. The purpose for staking away from the tree is to allow it to develop its own strength. With the wind the roots and trunk respond by building mass. If you do stake trees either at the trunk or out from the trunk remove them as soon as the trunk appears solid. This can be tested by moving the trunk back and forth, and watching the ground to see if roots are moving with the trunk. If not, the stakes can be removed.
MULCH FOR TREES: The suitable mulch for trees is not peat moss. The best "mulch" is DG (known as Decorative Rock, or Decomposed Granite), preferably the same type you have in your yard. Application of DG will keep moisture around the perimeter of shrubs and trees longer than exposed dirt.
With the high heat in June, the rains in July, and the humidity in August, the weeds were rampant and plants grew out of control. Along with this came an abundance of critter from field mice, ground squirrels and pack rats to spiders and centipedes. As a result, rattle snakes are in abundance in September and into October, looking for food before hibernation. Since the enzymes produced from the venom is much higher before hibernation, more damage can occur if you do get bit. A rule of thumb is to keep the bite below heart level, take Benedril and head to the hospital asap.
Take caution when walking outside in the evenings, and during the day for this brief period of time until the temperatures are cooler at night and during the day.
DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS: The trend for landscaping design in the Southwest desert is "keep it simple". Design with cacti, boulders mounds, or low water usage plants instead of large trees, exotic plants and ornate decoration. You won't regret it over the years. You will have limited maintenance, low water bills, fewer irrigation repairs, and can cut cost on having trees and shrubs trimmed. A home can look stunning with the right kind of low maintenance landscaping and design.
The Southwest desert is a complicated, amazing environment. Within the past few years significant changes have occurred, partly due to the climate and partly due to the influx of people altering the landscape. This website is for presenting information that may be useful in developing an appreciation for the desert, the plants, the conservation of water, and in general taking a mindful approach to decisions made while living with it.
Note: The information herein covers Southwest Arizona, specifically Pima County and is intended for use in planting and utilizing plants that thrive in this region.